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    The CRA’s Internal Inconsistency

    November 12, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    Before I dive headlong into assessing the Church Relationships Assessment that I mentioned last week, I wanted to touch on one issue that is a bit separate from the Major Issue at Hand {which, if one recalls, is the question of how one can biblically assess the “difference Christ is making” in one’s relationships}. This more minor issue is one of internal inconsistency.

    Please forgive me if this entire series is a bit vague. I am trying to assess the assessment {I just love writing “assess” over and over} without too many direct quotations because I am unsure about laws concerning intellectual property, and figure that it is better to play it safe in this instance. Here is a link to the CRA Sample Assessment that John Brown University’s Center for Relationship Enrichment has on their website. It should give one an idea of the format of the survey. Please note that the sample page that appears as page two falls within the “relationship with self” section.

    Now, I have attempted to quantify what I am talking about when I say that the test is “internally inconsistent” by using percentages. There are various sections in the survey: realtionship with self, with others, with spouse, with children at home, with God, and then an overall personal attitude section.

     

    1. Relationship with self
      In this section, 65% of the questions refer to feelings, emotions, or anger/temper. My general impression was that this reveals an underlying belief that understanding one’s feelings or properly handling one’s feelings is the key to assessing one’s relationship with oneself.
    2. Relationship with others
      In this section, 38% refer either to one’s own feelings or the feelings of the other person and another 8% deal with forgiveness. The remainder deal primarily with conflict management or how one believes one is perceived by others. Again, the emphasis was on feelings, with little to no mention of behavior.
    3. Relationship with spouse
      This section is harder to quantify. About 47% of the questions deal with levels of satisfaction, frequency of disagreement, regrets, and other more subjective issues. Another 32% deal with levels of happiness and feelings about the relationship overall. 21% ask about the frequency of “spiritual” activities {i.e., praying together}.
    4. Relationship with children at home
      In this section, 64% of the questions ask about levels of satisfaction with different areas of the relationship. The remaining 36% asks about the frequency of spiritual activities in a similar manner to the previous section concerning the relationship with one’s spouse.
    5. Relationship with God
      This section is quite different from all of those listed above. 77% deal with frequency of spiritual activities or practice of spiritual disciplines, while the remaining 33% are subjective assessments of growth and feelings of intimacy.
    6. Personal attitudes
      This question is quite different, which I am sure is obvious from the title. It deals with attitudes toward others and sins we often perceive as small, such as jealousy {which, incidentally, are never referred to as “sin” in the survey, but rather as attitudes}.

     

    Regardless of whether one believes that feelings are the best judge of the impact of Christ on a relationship, or that behaviors are the best judge, the test is internally inconsistent. If the best way to judge one’s relationship with God is to look at my spiritual disciplines, why is there not a similar way to, say, judge my relationship with my spouse? And yet the survey attempts to judge one’s relationship with God based primarily on behavior while judging all other relationships primarily through feelings and emotions. To some extent, a relationship is a relationship. Perhaps the Center for Relationship Enrichment should seek to discern a more comprehensive theory of relationships before releasing such a survey.

     

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